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Title: Oral History Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979. Interview H-0190. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Barbee, Annie Mack, interviewee
Interview conducted by Jones, Beverly
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 248 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-05-15, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979. Interview H-0190. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0190)
Author: Beverly Jones
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979. Interview H-0190. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0190)
Author: Annie Mack Barbee
Description: 235 Mb
Description: 72 p.
Note: Interview conducted on May 28, 1979, by Beverly Jones; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Stephanie M. Alexander.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979.
Interview H-0190. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Barbee, Annie Mack, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ANNIE MACK BARBEE, interviewee
    BEVERLY JONES, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BEVERLY JONES:
What is your complete name?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Annie Mack Barbee.
BEVERLY JONES:
And where were you born?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Manning, South Carolina.
BEVERLY JONES:
What is your father's name?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Necoda Mack—what you got on there? (Person answers: Charlie) Charlie N. Mack.
BEVERLY JONES:
And he was born when, do you know? I think he told me October the fourth, 1860.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Eighteen ninety or 1860. How old did he say he was?
BEVERLY JONES:
Let's see, he said he was almost eighty-nine years old.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Eighty-nine. That would be what
BEVERLY JONES:
You said you were born where?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Manning, South Carolina.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now your granddaddy told me that he was a tobacco worker. What is the impression of your father when you were growing up?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
He was a good provider and he was very, very strict.
BEVERLY JONES:
What do you mean by strict?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, had to go to church three times a day. If you didn't go and wanted to go somewhere in the afternoon and you was sick that morning, you couldn't go out that evening. You just had to stay sick all day long regardless of how you felt about it. And the church was a must. You had the family prayer on Sunday morning, read the bible. Everybody say bible for instance, before you could eat. That was a must. And when you had company at night, nine o'clock was the limit. They had to go home regardless. And when you went out you had a certain hour to come in. Eleven o'clock. Well it was all right providing where you were going, to

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a dance or something like that, he would extend the limit a little farther. And he was particular about your associates. You couldn't mingle with any and everybody. He had to know the family and the children themselves. And when you went somewhere to visit a child, you better bet he knew the people—the family, you know. And, well, we went to work real early—me and Mae, that's your mother. And when we became women, working, got grown working—'course I guess we should a been in school, I don't know—but he still was the ruler to a certain extent, you know. Then when we got eighteen the limit was off. He'd let you do, you know, do your own shopping or whatever you wanted to do with your own money. You were grown then, you was eighteen, then you could buy what you want, just give him something for staying there, you know. In other words, you paid board. But the other money, you could take it and do what you want with it—buy clothes or whatever, whatever. And then when you get short of money—'cause I've gotten a plenty money from them. I used to love the baseball games and when my money would run out, he'd loan you money, of course. He'd let you have money, but you had to pay it back, you know. But I think that was a nice way of teaching you to pay your debts. I didn't approve of it at that time. It really hurt me because he was my daddy. [Laughter] But when I began to realize later on in life, that made me want to pay my debts. If I borrowed money from somebody, it was instilled in me to pay it back, regardless of who it was. But I resented it in the beginning. I didn't like it one bit. But by him doing that, it instilled, you know, if we borrowed some money from some money from somebody, regardless of what it was for, we was supposed to pay it back. I liked that part of it after I got grown. I didn't realize it until I got grown.

Page 3
And we worked at the factory. That's all we knew about, working at the factory. Well, factory work was all right.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, let me get some more background before we move into the factory. So was granddaddy the backbone of the family or was your mother the backbone. I think his first wife was Annie Miller. So who was the backbone?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Of the family—he was. And he was the backbone of the family when he and Janet was living together.
BEVERLY JONES:
That was his second wife.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Janet Mack, yeah, that was his second wife. Yeah, let's get back to momma, that's where I'm going to go back if you don't mind. To my real mother.
BEVERLY JONES:
Annie.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, I can vaguely remember some of my childhood with her before we came to Durham. I can remember her cooking little johnnycakes and little colored things. Hanging 'em in a little flour sack behind the door in the kitchen. And somebody came through Manning selling these large bible story books, where you read stories out of it, to children, and had pictures, you know. And the one that answered the most questions—she'd have a question period after she'd read the story. And the one that answered the most questions would get the most cookies. I can remember a whole lot of my childhood with her at that particular time, because she wasn't sick. And it was a very happy childhood, very happy. She was a humble type of person. I've never heard her curse. She'd get angry but the anger that she got, you couldn't tell it because she didn't use any kind of bad words or nothing. And her voice never would get real loud. She was very humble. She was a humble type of person. Very, unusually humble. And she gave us principles to go by which I can remember so well.

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It was a very deeply religious background. I can remember that. She'd whip us, about telling stories—you know, children tell lies. And that's the worst whipping you could get, by telling lies. And she didn't do too much whipping, he always did it—father. She didn't whip too much. But she would have punishment you know—well you told a lie, you don't get no cookie tonight. Give it to the other person, the other child, a glass of milk and a cookie, but your punishment—you wasn't getting any cookies 'till the next day. That's the way she punished. She wouldn't give you nothing. And in Christmas time, she'd make all our cookies and things, and little johnnycakes. She had something, that you'd cut 'em out. Christmas tree, all that. She's very creative. I can remember her now, in the kitchen making Christmas cookies and different things. And she always kept some cookies for us, the cookies she made, 'cause along then you didn't go to the store and buy your children nothing. And at Christmas time when crops was bad and we would cry and she we couldn't anything, we didn't have no money. But she tried to make our Christmas very happy, as best she could, without the expensive things that children usually get. And we were happy 'cause we didn't know any better. In the summertime we didn't have nothing to play with, Go out there and get grass and pull it up, and the long strands down there—she'd go somewhere and get some old scraps and show us how to tie a ribbon—that was our doll. Tie a ribbon on the doll. And she'd go somewhere—she could sew real well. And she'd make these little doll dresses to put on that grass doll. It wasn't a doll, it was a grass doll. And probably take a cardboard box, put wheels on it, and the dog was our horse. Take that dog and the dog would ride us all over the yard. Now those are the things we played with as children. Homemade things. Just take anything

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and make something to play with. And I can see that dog now. Put the dog to the cart and one would ride awhile, and the other one would ride awhile. And those are the things we grew up with. We didn't have any storebought things. But she could always find something to make something. We were happy with it. We didn't complain. We didn't know anything about a whole lot of toys like children do now. We didn't know. We were very happy.
BEVERLY JONES:
I know in my interview with granddaddy he mentioned that she graduated from high school in 1911.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
She did.
BEVERLY JONES:
So was she a force in your life that pushed you toward trying to gain a type of knowledge in reference to education?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yes, beyond a reasonable doubt. Oh yes, beyond a reasonable doubt. Oh yeah, she was.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now let me see, her background was what again?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Her mother and father were—well I won't say they were wealthy, 'cause when you say wealthy I don't know how you say whether it consists of how much they own or how rich they were. I'll just say they were well to do. They lived well. And they owned a lot of land then. She didn't know what it was to get out and work like other farmers in the area—their daughters. 'Cause her mother and father had a plenty.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well do you recall any instances of her feeling sort of downtrodden basically, since she was living in a type of, I would say middle class or well to do family, and then she became granddaddy's wife and of course things weren't as good as it was living with her parents. Were there any times in which she really felt very sad, or just felt completely upset because of this movement from …

Page 6
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh, I get the picture now. Because of the environment that she came out of, the one that she went in when she married. I get the picture very clearly. Well by me being so young, it's hard for me to define that. But I do know that she stayed sick a lot, you know, kind of stayed sick a lot. But by me being a child I don't know how deeply rooted it was, or what it came from or nothing. But I do know she kept it hid from us. She was very jolly with us, very happy, seemly so. And when we came to Durham after Polly, my baby sister was born, then she really was sick. She wasn't well at all. She was sick, but she just held up, you know, because of us I imagine.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, she seemed to be a very strong and loving mother. How would you describe her?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
We don't have any of that humbleness from her. Some of us don't. Laura may have it. She was a meek and humble person. When I say meek, no outbursts, you know where you just rare up and pitch a fit and go to pieces. We didn't get that from her. Now I'll pitch a fit in a minute. [Laughter] I mean, I'll just take so much and then when I take it then I have to let it out, which I reckon is what makes you strong. But she wasn't that type.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about her physical features?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
She was a kind of low brown skinned woman with a round face. I'm trying to think who in the family favors her. Her face is very round, and she was little. Long black hair that hung down her back. She could sit on her hair, and we used to play with it. So I think she'd taken that after her mother—Indian blood. She had some Indian blood in her. Brown skinned. I wouldn't say she was pretty, I wouldn't call her pretty. But her features—she had nice features, you know, her facial features.

Page 7
But I wouldn't call her really sure enough pretty. She was very small and little. She wasn't tall, she wasn't a tall woman at all.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did she ever recall her parents. I know you said they were sort of well to do. Do you know the name of her parents—they were probably Miller's since she was Annie Miller.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, her mother was named Hester Miller. I don't know, I have to ask granddaddy what her daddy was named. We didn't never see him.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh, you only saw the mother.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. We saw a picture of him in her living room. She had a nice living room and I asked her who that old man is. She told me one day, 'cause I didn't know who he was. And I'd go in there unbeknown to them and stand up and look at that picture, and I said, they called him Uncle Doc or poppa. I don't know whether he knows his real name or not. But they called him Uncle Doc—that's what they called him. Doc Miller. But I know he must have—I'm quite sure he had a name.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you know how they acquired their land? Do you have any idea?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No I sure don't.
BEVERLY JONES:
That was very unusual for a black family to have such a large amount—how much land do you think they had?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, as near as I can remember, they owned that whole area. I don't know whether you go by acres of land—surrounding the house. I can see that old house now. And he could have had more. Yes, wait a minute. I can't tell you how they acquired the land, because when your grandmother came to Durham, her brother—they called Richard Miller—bought her part out from the home place and gave her some money. She was getting ready to come here to your granddaddy. So it must have been

Page 8
quite a lot of land—for all the children to have a part in it. Every one of 'em had a part in it. And I think he sold his part out of it, to grandma. Anyway, he gave her some money. I don't know how that worked. And then Uncle Richard—you see when granddaddy died, from what I can understand—when grandfather died, he was what you called, if Wash had left Willie executive, then the executive—is that what the word for it?
BEVERLY JONES:
Yeah.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Over the property although Richard was the executive over the entire thing. And see by him being the oldest son, they helped grandmomma carry on. And somehow or another they fell out, they couldn't make it. And he took his part and went and built him a store beyond where she lived. And that's where he was living when he married. When he married after grandma died, he married again, then he went back to the home place. I don't know how he got back there, I don't whether he was in business or what. But that's where he died at, the home. place. So his son now owns the home place. It's a kind of tangled up. I was a child, I didn't know too much about it. But you know when you put one child over something that they don't mean to do right, they'll mess up. You have to be careful, who you put over it. But it must've been quite a bit, 'cause granddaddy figured grandmomma couldn't handle it so he fixed it up so that if he died Uncle Richard could help her carry on. And so, somehow or another, along the line they couldn't make it. So she just went downtown and gave him his part and he just went on about his business. But I remember my mother, she was supposed to be coming to Durham the next day. And he met her beyond the fence and when she came back she had a whole lot of money rolled up in her hand. I've never known why he gave her that money. She said, I saw your uncle.

Page 9
I said, I was looking right at you when you saw your uncle. She said he gave me some money. I said for what. She didn't say nothing, she just shook her head. And she went on in the house and went into her room there and put it in a pocketbook. But she still didn't say nothing to grandma. And I don't know what that was about up until the day—but I know I saw her 'cause I was standing behind her. She went right on down to the fence. He whistled for her and she went over there and he gave her a whole lot of money. How much it was I don't know. To this day I don't know why he gave her that. But her mother never did know it. You know, that was unknowned to her 'cause I think they fell out for some reason or another, they fell out. To tell you the truth, I've never know the whole story of why they fell out, but they fell out. And so she just took it in her hand and just told him he could get his part and he went on about his business.
But it was a large house, very large. Along then, they'd have the porch here, go all the way around the house. Something like these old—the ranch houses are something like 'em now. Only thing the ranch houses are not up. The ranch houses—you know the ranch houses. Start here with a porch and go all the way around. You'd walk from the living room—from her bedroom, all the way down, clean down a long lane, to the kitchen. Large house. But it wasn't a two story. Compared to the houses now, I wouldn't have it, the way it was built, you know.
BEVERLY JONES:
But it seems beautiful.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. It was a nice, very nice house. With rooms going to bed. You'd never go outdoors—if you come from her bedroom, by the living room. You start—here's her bedroom, come right on out down the

Page 10
long lane. And you'd walk, and you'd walk. Then you'd get to the kitchen. And then, because when you go indoors you could—yeah, the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bedroom, bedroom—I'm trying to see if you had to go outdoors to get into—yeah, that's why I said I wouldn't have it. Each time you go in a room, you've got to go on this porch. You see, you couldn't go through. Now I'm seeing it now, why you couldn't go through, but you're still on the porch, you're not outdoors. Go in the kitchen. But you could go from the kitchen to the dining room—that's the only two rooms connected. You go in the kitchen and bring the food from the kitchen to the dining room. But if you go in the bedroom, you've got to go around that lane, go in the door, go out on the porch, and go in the door. That's the way it was built. No I wouldn't have it in this day and time.
BEVERLY JONES:
Let's see, what year are we probably talking about. What, nineteen hundreds?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yup. Nineteen hundreds. My father came here in '22, he said. I can't remember the year he came here. It must've been 01900.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, so that means that everybody was brought up on the farm.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
And I think, in granddaddy's interview, the farm was not owned by the family, but it was rented from a landlord.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well now, when he died he owned the house.
BEVERLY JONES:
Who was that, granddaddy? I didn't know that.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Probably didn't go into the details about that. He can't remember. That's why I have to—I'm glad you… Property from this old man, Mr. Dick Tilson, for years and years. Granddaddy did—my grandfather. Well he fixes up in his will—he didn't die but he gave it

Page 11
to him. He gave him enough money to build him a full room house with about a acre and a half of land. That's where we went to when we left here. He owned his home in the end, he did. This old white man gave him some money and he built a four room house and he had a acre and a half of land around the house. 'Cause when we went down there—father and I—we went when the house was about torn down. In the end he really owned his own house. That's where we went to when we left here. That house—he owned that—that was his house.
BEVERLY JONES:
So granddaddy owned his own—because his father gave him the land. Is that what you're saying?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, I'm talking about his father owned the house.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, his father. That's Charlie …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Mack.
BEVERLY JONES:
Franklin Mack.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Charlie Franklin Mack. He owned his own house and about a acre of land. When we left here and went to him, that's where he was at and that's where he died at.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now where did granddaddy and Annie stay?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Out in the country on a rented—I can see that house now, Out way in the country on a rented farm. And then when he came to Durham she went to her mother's with us, and stayed there 'till he sent for her. With her mother.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh I see. So that meant that granddaddy never owned any land at all, he only rented.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Only rented, he never owned no land. No, no, no.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now what happened to the house and the land that Charlie Franklin Mack had?

Page 12
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Okay. When he got so sick, our Aunt Bessie took him, Aunt Maggie took momma—grandmother. And when they died, Uncle Robert—that's your uncle—came up here and got Mr. O'Kelly. You don't know nothing about him, your mother and father knew him. To notorize some papers and they sold the house to pay for their burial.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh, so they sold the house and the land.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
They sold the house, yeah. Sold the house and the land to pay for their burial expenses. And everybody had to sign it. All the heirs had to sign to get this money to pay for both of their burial experiences. And one couldn't do it without the other. So Uncle Robert came here for poppa to do it, 'cause he was living at that time. So he came here and poppa had to put his signature on it and Aunt Bessie and Aunt Maggie had to. Maybe the doctor bills, what have you—those two sisters had to use the money from the sale of this land to pay for their burial and what doctor bills that may have accumulated during that time. So they were staying—one was staying with one daughter and one was staying with the other daughter, and that's where they died at. And both of 'em—one of 'em was a widow. Her husband had died years ago. So that's the only way they could get any money to pay for the burial expenses, what have you. So they sold it. I don't know who they sold it to, but they sold that house. And the land.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, while growing up on the farm, the immediate white contact was the landlord. And what type of person was he, was he a good person to work for?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I don't know nothing about him.
BEVERLY JONES:
You were very young.

Page 13
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Very young, I can't remember. But I do know when the bo weevils came through—they probably have already told you. The mule died. And what else died. And he was supposed to come and get the mule, and I got a first cousing—he's dead now—Joe. That's my oldest aunts' son. And Joe would come over there and help ma. He'd come over there every Saturday night. And boil peanuts. He'd boil peanuts in a iron kettle. And Joe would come over and help her do little things around the house until it was time for us to move from the farm to her home, that left my grandmomma. Getting ready to come to Durham, but before that Joe would come over there every Saturday night. Now I remember him telling my mother, he said if old McFadden come here and bothering you let me know, 'cause if you ain't going to—he cursed, I won't say the curse word—he won't find nothing here. Momma said, well the mule is sick. He said, let the so and so die. He said, I won't bury him 'till McFadden come here. But sure enough the mule died so McFadden—I can remember seeing him, but I don't know him—he came with that old mule. And Joe said, the so and so out there [unknown] do you want him? And he said no. He said, well you can have him. He said, you can take him and bury him. I think with so many difference against, you know, they take up all their livestock and what not, 'cause momma didn't make no crop that year. And so everything died, you know, the mule died. I don't know whether the cow died or not. But Joe'd taken some of the stuff and taken to his father's house to keep it. So McFadden couldn't get it, so he came there looking for something, but he didn't find anything. He knew Momma had to leave, she couldn't stay there. And whatever he came for, he couldn't find it, because I think the mule was the most important thing, but the mule died. Let me see,

Page 14
did the horse die, yeah, both of 'em died. But Joe wouldn't bury 'em, 'cause he wanted him to see 'em. But he saw 'em, this old McFadden, he saw that mule and thing out there. Then after he left, but I can't describe him. A little low looking man.
BEVERLY JONES:
And so Mr. McFadden did allow the family to leave without paying off what …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, 'cause Joe—you see, Joe, my cousing, they had some words. And I don't know what their words were exactly but I know, knowing Joe, told him he couldn't get nothing if she didn't have it. Or something like that. I was small then. And so, everything he could find he would take it to his daddy's. You know, little tools around the house and the plow and all that. He'd take that stuff and carry it to his father, before my mother left. So the man really didn't have anything to go there and get but a empty house, and Joe saw to that. That's her nephew on my daddy's side. And so we left, and went on to her mother's. And they had to crate the stuff to bring it to Durham. And every time they'd crate something, the man at the freight station would tell Joe it was wrong. So Joe crated three times, I do remember that. Peanuts and peas and we'd put it in crates, stuff that the man was supposed to get and Joe wouldn't let him get it. The last time Joe went down to the station, the freight station, he told Joe it wasn't right. And Joe said, I did everything you told me to do. He said if this is not right—and I won't say the curse word—and he grabbed the man. And a man that knew my uncle, which was Joe's father, went and told Uncle Buddy to send Uly down to the freight station because Joe was fixing to kill that white man. So Uly got on the car and went on down there, and when he

Page 15
went down there, he said they were cursing like mad. He said Joe was crying. Well see, one thing about them, they didn't have to bow. Their father had a plenty. They'd been mingling with white folks all their life. They didn't go out and work on the farm like the most families. His father owned a plenty, Joe's father, my aunt and her husband owned a plenty. So her children didn't know what it was to bow down to white people. They didn't. And that boy, no way. So Uly had to go down there and get Joe. And so Joe said—Uly said, what's the matter, the man told me… So Uly got in with that. He said, well if this stuff is not crated right, and if you don't put this stuff on that freight train and anything happens, you going to hear from us. So the man let it pay. Didn't want it to leave.
BEVERLY JONES:
It's 01900's and they're talking about, you're white.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
It must have been a very reputable family.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
They was. Because here's why I say. You see, Uly was know all over Manning and surrounding country—towns rather. Because he had the only black mechanic shop.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
There's a connection there. Anything got wrong with your car, unless you wanted to take it to Sumter or somewhere, you had to go to him. Nowhere else to go. You had no choice, you had to go to him. And they knew, he knew what he was doing. He went to school for it. So whenever he spoke, he was heard. 'Cause if a man said, (nonsense), he said, no sir, you're going to put it on there. And he'd better get to Durham safe. Joe had to crate this stuff three times, and each time he sent it back. He said, now, it's not going back. It's not, and if

Page 16
anything wrong, you tell me right now what. And the man said, no, no, no, nothing wrong. And he had to hold Joe, and push him back, 'cause Joe had done grabbed him. See Joe was fixing to kill him. So Uly had to go down there and speak, and that stuff went on and came to Durham all right. Nothing wrong with it, it got to Durham. Poppa got somebody to get it from the freight station, it was fine. So you see, they didn't go humbling the white people. They didn't know what it was. In other words, to tell you the truth, they was just as—I mean they have just as much as the poor pecks or more, some of 'em. And Uly Miller's name was known all over that town, surrounding country. And they call, call Uly, tell him we had a wreck. Here he'd come with his wrecker. That was early. Didn't have no other. Had to. They didn't want to, but they had no choice. They had to patronize blacks when you ain't got no choice. They had to patronize him, they had no choice. Or send it with the car, some motor, send away to Sumter and get a wrecker, they had to use his.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you recall what school did he go to to acquire this skill?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Somewhere in Missouri, I don't know. Yeah, it was in the state of Missouri, 'cause that's how he got acquainted with your cousin Susan. He'd go to school with her on his vacation or spring breaks or whatever you might call it—he'd go over to Ohio State with his uncle. See he'd go over there and stay with Susan then. Now that's how they—he was the first one in the family was known to that family. 'Cause none of 'em, they won't own him. They'd been knowing him for years when they were growing up, because he'd visit them. And go to Uncle Arthur and stay, and work around there in Ohio, and then in the fall he'd go back to school. Yeah, he was the only mechanic anywhere in that town.

Page 17
'Course there were some came later, but he was the only one, Uly Miller. Uly Miller auto and mechanic shop. The only one.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were there any other black businesses that you can recall of?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, oh yeah. Black doctors. Doctor Whitney, Doctor Brown, and I think they have some kind of printing something. Della White's father. But I can't recall no store being run by—oh yes they did. Aunt Allen and them ran a store. They sure did. 'Cause Uly built a store right there adjoined to the house as something for her to do, and he helped her. Yeah, she ran a store for awhile but she got so old, he had to do away with it. Yeah, she ran a store. See people'd come to have their cars fixed, and he could see to make a business.
BEVERLY JONES:
Right.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Buy loaves of bread and drinks and popcorn and ice cream and all of that. And when he'd work on the cars they'd go in the store, you know, and get something or another—refreshments. Yeah, they ran a little store, it wasn't a large one. Kind of a small place. Something like these little places we got around here. I'm trying to remember about the other black businesses, if I can remember. Manning was so small. I don't remember no store, no dry good stores, I mean. Clothing stores—I don't remember any of those. I know we did have a black doctor, Dr. Brown. Of course you know, you had more than one white one. But I remember him. He was the only black doctor there. And Stella White's father—I don't know what he was. I don't know whether he ran a printing shop. If he did, it had something to do with the Household of Ruth, that's something for women. That's a old organization for women—Household of Ruth. He had something to do with that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Was it a type of what?

Page 18
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Something like the Masons and Elks, something on that order. It's the oldest one I can remember, the household Now that's the oldest—all these others came up later. I can remember that Household of Ruth when I was a child. And it's still active. It's active here in Durham. I don't know how strong it is, but it's still active.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, let's go back to you know. I think I've got a substantial amoung of information in reference to the family background. Now, how old are you?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Sixty-six.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, and you went to—in regard to education, what grade did you go to?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Seventh. I hate it, but that's where I stopped at.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, so that means on the farm you went to school.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yes.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
It got so dangerous. He would let us stay with his mother in town.
BEVERLY JONES:
What do you mean by dangerous?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Walking on the highway, you know, people picking up girls and things. We had to walk so far.
BEVERLY JONES:
Was there a lot of assaults against women in this time period?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Maybe not. But he didn't trust 'em. Especially on white picks. You know, old white men riding down the highway and stuff.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were they known for stopping women?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, he said they was. So he said it was too far for us to walk and he didn't have no way to carry us back and forth every morning

Page 19
and pick us up in the afternoon. He let us stay with his mother any time and go to school, then go home every Friday.
BEVERLY JONES:
So the school was in town.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yes, lord, right in her back door. Oh let me see, how far was that school from grandmomma and them. About as far as from here to Miss Jones. Go right through their back gate and there's the school.
BEVERLY JONES:
So did you have a black teacher or a white teacher?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
You had a black?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Black, all black.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Though, I shouldn't say it, but I always—not so much as I did in my early years—I've always regretted that I didn't continue some type of education, you know, after. Even though, although working in the factory—it's no excuse. I could've gone and gone to school at night. I can remember every teacher I had mostly. Miss Reynolds, she was one of 'em. I'm going to tell you something about the school now. I can remember more about after poppa let us go back home to his mother and father. I can remember more of that school period than I did in the beginning, the earlier time when they both were living. This part, after mother died, and we went back to live with his mother and father, now that part …
BEVERLY JONES:
What year was that about?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh, she died in twenty-five, twenty-six or something like that I guess. But we did go to school down there. I don't—might two or three years out there. Now I can really remember that part of it. Used to have spelling matches. And I can remember, I'd sit up at night, and fractions—oh. Granddaddy and I—I always betted on him to teach me,

Page 20
not knowing, he didn't know. And I would sit up at night, and I loved arithmetic. I've always loved it, from a child. And I began to get in fractions and I wanted him to help me. And then they were making answers in the back of the book. You know about that don't you? Honey, I'd get that lamp, and grandma would just fuss. He'd say, leave her alone. He believed in education. Of course he didn't sent his children, but he believed in it. And I said, granddaddy. He said, what you on? I said, fractions. I said, I can't get it. He said, keep on working, is there answers in the back of the book. I said yeah. He said, you go to the back of the book and get them answers, compare 'em with yours. Honey I worked with them fractions and worked. Finally one night it dawned on me. I said, this is no good. I was getting answers out of the back of the book. I said, I've got to get it for myself. So I began to work those fractions from memory. Now honey, I worked on them. Miss Reynolds said, Ann. I said, Ann. She said, you got your lesson? I said, yes I have. She said, you got your fractions? I said yes, I got it. And ooh, you should've seen her face. She said, you mean, she said, I didn't tell you to do three pages. I said, I did five. It got good to me. And honey, I mean, fractions, ooh I worked. Lord have mercy. Of course I hated I didn't go on in spelling. I'd get to the head of the line. She says, okay I'm going to start off with you Annie. You lead it off. And honey I'd be standing there spelling and somebody would just pinch me, whisper in my ear. And she said, no you don't, no you don't. "Whisper in my ear, whisper in my ear." "No you don't." They would be telling me to whisper so you know, they would know they was next. She'd say, "No you don't." And they'd spell and sit down, spell and sit down. And honey, those children got angry at me… One boy

Page 21
offered to whip me. I had to go home and get granddaddy. Because they was having tests and I would help her correct the papers when we were having tests. She said, we're going to have a test tomorrow Annie. She said, I know you know yours. She said, I want you to go over these papers and get the tests ready for the girls the next day, girls and boys. And Herbert Gamber knew I was helping her. He told me, he said, if I don't, [Laughter] if I don't hand some answers under them school steps, I'm going to whip your ass. Scared me to death. I wouldn't tell the teacher, I told granddaddy. He said, yeah that old Gamber boy, he said, he's dumb and lazy. I said, he told me to put the answers under the steps, 'cause if I didn't he was going to whip me. Honey. And that's okay. So what time the test start. She said the test started about ten o'clock, children come in. Different children in different groups. Here come Herbert. Granddaddy went out there. He said, what you want Herbert. "Nothing, nothing." Grandaddy said, what you want. He said, now you going into school? He said, "yes I am." He said, "Annie's going in there too. And I'm going in there." Scared him to death. He told me, he said if you don't put the answers on the test that she going to have tomorrow, he said, I'm coming here and I'm going to whip your ass. No, no, big strong boy. I knowed he would have torn me up. So she had the test and Herbert didn't get nothing but D, D, D, D. And I was afraid of him, I ain't going to tell you no lie. Now I was actually afraid of him. So granddaddy said, don't be afraid of him. So unbeknownst to me he went and told Miss Reynolds the teacher. She said, okay, I'll fix that. And the teacher said, "Herbert, class is dismissed. You go out there and get in that buggy and go home. Right now." I loved—now that's the part I enjoyed in school I enjoyed those

Page 22
last few years of school after we left. You know, after poppa carried—we had to live with them. That's the last period of my schooling. I really enjoyed it. I was beginning to get the hang of it, you know. And I really, really enjoyed school. I just hated I didn't go on. Now if I had gone, my field would have been mathematics. 'Cause I love it. I'm not bragging Beverly, I'm not bragging at all. Louise never did like arithmetic. And now she says, "Momma." I say, Louise that's wrong. I says, Louise, learn to count money in your head. She says, "Momma, how do you get this to work." I said, no, count it in your head. And it would make her so mad. [Laughter] She would get real angry. I said, honey, I'm glad I do know how—I have to handle poppa's money and mine. I said, if I didn't know how to handle it, I'd be burned up. And I said, that's what I want you to learn. To learn how to handle money. I said, learn how to handle money. Sometime you're in a place, you ain't got time to get a pencil and a piece of paper. I said, rattle it off in your head. I said, just memorize it. So I'd give her so and so and so and so and so and so and so and just memorize it. And I said, whenever she don't give you the change don't leave, I said count it right there before her. I had to make her go out there to buy a record one day and I was sitting out there in the shopping center. And she said momma, she said I gave him so and so and so. I said, oh, to that there boy up yonder. She said, yeah. I said, now you go in there. I'm not going to say nothing to him. I said, you go in there. She said, I gave. He said, yeah, here it is. She won't thinking. She threw out a whole dollar. I said, I'm not going to be with you always. I said, you hand the man a ten dollar bill, I said you have in your memory what that thing costs. I said, and tax, I said, girl you better

Page 23
know what tax. I said, four cent on the dollar. Can't you put four cent on ten dollars or whatever it is. It's in your head. You ain't got time to get no pencil. I done breaking it with her about that money. I'd been really working with her about that money. I said learn how to calculate what you're doing in your head. 'Cause I can really do it. I ain't bragging on myself. No, I can do it, I can really do it. I'm getting older now, my memory on that ain't as good as it used to be. But honey, if you cheat me, you're the good one. I ain't lying. But that would have been my field, I'm just telling you. Had I gone to school it would have been mathematics. I love it.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well that's good. Let me go back to your education. Now the type of school, what grade did it go through?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well the one I went to, it didn't have but one. It went as far as the eleventh grade I think.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well did you come in and everybody of the same age was there, the same grade, or did you divide up.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No they had different sections. Fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh, on like that.
BEVERLY JONES:
And how many teachers?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh I forgot how many. There was a whole lot of teachers. Different teachers. In other words, to make it very clear, the teacher that taught the seventh grade, she had too many pupils for one teacher. I do know that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now how was the school supported. Was it state supported or did the community support it?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, it was state supported. You heard talk of—Rosenwald used to go around and build these schools for black people.
BEVERLY JONES:
Yeah, Rosenwald, okay, a philanthropist.

Page 24
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah that's what he was. But it was really segragated, I'll have you to know why I say that. Because our school burned down, we were living with grandmother and grandfather when it burned down. And instead of them building a new school, they hauled a old school. Of course we left there a little after that, came to Durham to father. Instead of building a new school they hauled a old school—out of fashioned—I don't know what you call it—on that lot. That's where it was when I left and came to Durham. Our school burnt clean—and I'm thinking, I'm trying to remember—yeah, the school we had before this one burnt down, was a nice school. It was a school for black folks and it was nice, but the one they moved over there was terrible. Old upstairs and—it was a terrible school. See we left and came to Durham a little after that. But I don't know where the schools are. I went down there and was trying to ask questions about the first one we had. And I do believe it was deliberately burnt. I've always believed that. None of those nice schools like that for no nigger children, no. No way.
BEVERLY JONES:
You don't have any idea who probably would have done it?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
One of them white folks I guess, because it was nice, very nice. Burnt down to the ground. And I don't believe they even tried to save it.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now your teachers, were they southerners or northerners?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
They were southerners, more than likely they were southerners.
BEVERLY JONES:
And you don't recall whether they got there …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
But I went to school with a boy named Harrison Preston. That was a very influential family there. And his older sister—this woman had ten children. I knew his mother, she was a real missionary

Page 25
lady. She fell dead, died suddenly of a heart attack. Harrison was my classmate and every one of his sisters and brothers above him was teachers. Every last one of them. I can remember that. They didn't teach at that school where we went, Harrison and I. But they taught all over the county. And that woman, his mother—now from what I can understand his father died when they were young—she educated every last one of those older girls and boys. I know some of 'em went to Columbia, Allen University. Some of 'em went to Mars College, different places in the South. And she educated every one of 'em. He didn't have a older sister or brother that wasn't a teacher. Not nary one. I remember that well. So we got to arguing there one day, he and I, you know, would pick at. I said, how come you're so dumb and your sisters are teachers. And it made him hot. So he got so he got better grades than I. When I said that it made something come out of him. I said, why are you so dumb and all of your sisters and brothers are teachers. And I think it really made him angry. From then on, honey, the race was on. His grades just jumped up, overnight. Because see, he was so dumb. First he won't study in school, but after I said that word honey, oh we had a battle. We'd get to spelling, he wouldn't let me outspell him. I said, oh lord I got to study tonight, I said I'm going up against Harrison in the morning. And sure enough we would be in the stretch, he'd wink his eye at me. Let me know he won't get me today. Yet every one of and how they did it, I don't know.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, now, let's see, you said you are sixty-six years old. When were you married?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
October the tenth 1953.

Page 26
BEVERLY JONES:
And how long had you known your husband before you married?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
About a year.
BEVERLY JONES:
And where did you meet him?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Let me see, I'm trying to think where I was. Oh yeah, through a lady named Victoria Lawson, 'cause she had a son named Jake and they were friends.
BEVERLY JONES:
What is your husbands name, his complete name?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Louis Barbee.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now where was he from?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Chatham County. It's down there near Apex.
BEVERLY JONES:
And what type of family did he come from. Do you recall who was his mother and father?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
His mother was named Edna Barbee. And his father was named Robert Barbee, Robert.
BEVERLY JONES:
What did they do for a living?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Farmers.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, so the farming tradition continues.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, farmers. Until they got real old, they wasn't able. They lived in a rural district but they wasn't able to do anything, you know. Just lived out there and the children would see about 'em. I don't know whether they got any type of check or—I don't know—the children, his brothers and sisters was talking about it. I don't know whether they got any type of check but I know they got some type of assistance. I don't know what it was. 'Cause I visited her in her illness quite a bit, his mother. Then after she died the father went to live with one of the other brothers. And that's another case. They don't know anything about his people, on their father's side. But that boy was trying to say

Page 27
he's been to Washington up there and so on. He knows about his grandmother's people but he was trying to trace down his grandfather's people. Robert Barbee.
BEVERLY JONES:
Yeah, and was having difficulty.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
He was having difficulty. And he told me that when he came he'd had a whole lot of trouble about his grandfather's people. But his grandmother was a Counsel before she married. So they know some of her people which helps. 'Cause some of her people are still living. She was Edna Counsel Barbee. Edna Counsel Barbee. That's her full name. So they wouldn't have any trouble, they want to find their roots about that, about their grandmother. But they had a lot of trouble on their grandfather's side. They're not having any luck about that. 'Cause he mentioned it when he was down here. When I was up there in March he mentioned it. They're going to continue to search and ask from some of the rest of 'em, you know, to help 'em search the family roots. So I don't know how successful he's been. I never known nobody but him but I knew some of her people, grandmother Counsel. I met several of them. His grandmother's people.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you know if they own their own land or do they just rent it?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, they didn't own their own land but he got a uncle, which is his father's brother. He owned the land of his father's brother's—called him Henderson. Okay, Henderson owned his own house, a nice house. His wife died here about two or three years ago. Mabel, Nett, Betty, and John. He got four daughters. And all four got nice beautiful homes right around him. That's his uncle now, I'm just talking about his uncle. His daddy's brother. He got four daughters and he must own quite a bit of land around there. And all four of his

Page 28
daughters got houses right in hollering distance of their father. And let's see, who else is in their family. Well there's Aunt Roberta, she lives here on Dunbarst. Right there, she owns her own home, been there for years. Anna Lindsay, I think she built her house, but she's dead. That's the only one I know that owns property that I can remember. Yeah, he got a cousin, cousin, distant cousin. All of them. They're farmers but they only were farmers, they owned their own property. Right here in the rural district. Arnetta's daughter built her a beautiful big home. That's his second cousin, Arnetta his first cousin. And so I think Henderson and Roberta helped to own, owned her own home. That's his own, and still on his daddy's side. She owned her own home. But it's not a big fabulous house, but her husband's a farmer. She works but he still farms. He still raises tobacco and what have you. And Henderson, he's always working. I don't know whether he's retired. But I know he worked in Raleigh for awhile, until he retired. I think he's retired now. That's on his father's side. And so we of course, we didn't ever own nothing, you know. His father.
BEVERLY JONES:
How many children did you have?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
One, Louise.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, her name is Louise?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Barbee.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Louise Valveeta Barbee. Just put Louise V. Barbee. I never could pronounce that. He named her. I never could pronounce that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, what is your philosophy on rearing your daughter, since you only had one child. What is your philosophy about rearing children in reference to your daughter Louise?

Page 29
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, in my opinion, if you're going to have children, don't have 'em too late in life.
BEVERLY JONES:
So how old were you when you had Louise?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Forty-three.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well you married late.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
That's what I'm telling you now.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, he was your first husband.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
First husband. See I married in '53. Louise was born in '56. That's on her birth certificate. It's around here, she didn't take it with her, that's on her birth certificate. So I married late in life. But if you're going to have children, that's my philosophy—have 'em early. Not too early, 'cause maybe there are some things you want to do before you start a family. But don't wait too late. Because if you have children, you have more patience. Now having children late in life don't take the love away. I think you love 'em just as well if you have 'em early. But there's a kind of conflict between you and the child. You know, you're old, up in age—not too old, but old. And the child will say, momma, such and such a thing. She won't see it like I do. But when you're kind of young you can kind of relate to the child, you see. 'Cause you're kind of young and the children are young, so there's another meaning in there between you and the child. And so, I was fortunate to be near Polly in her early childhood. So she was a second mother, see what I mean. She could relate to her. And part your own—well, in other words, Polly'd take her children like her sisters and brothers. Her first early childhood baby like, she was up to her house because I had to work. So she was just a second momma, see. I didn't spend too much time with her, only at night 'cause I was working.

Page 30
Polly would keep her in the day while I worked. So I've gotten along well with her. One thing, I try to see with a open mind. And I do understand a lot. The children are different now—we have such a hard time. Now one thing I didn't do—I didn't try to bring her up like our daughter. I didn't want to.
BEVERLY JONES:
Why not?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I wanted her to go but come back. I didn't put that so nough strictness on her, you know. She wouldn't take it, she wouldn't accept it had I gone along with it. The way I was raised that wouldn't have worked at all. I know she wanted to go and I wanted her to go. She wanted to be like others. And I remember a incident. These children were going to DTI (Durham Technical Institute) to a [interruption]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
You got to know where to draw the line between permissiveness and, you know, permission, with children. You got to know where to draw the line. That's hard sometimes. You let 'em go and do too much, then you try to hold 'em back. Now that is hard. Don't you let nobody fool you. And then you want to let 'em hang out on their own and then you interfere and they rebel. That's another hard thing. They rebel. "Oh mommy, I know what I'm doing." I said, now what can you do. And the thing—in other words, they rebel against you and you drive 'em in the very thing you don't want 'em to get in. And it's hard, and you don't mean to be hard on 'em, in those ways. But, you draw the line, you draw it too tight or you slack it up, and here you go.
BEVERLY JONES:
The same situation develops.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Same thing develops. It's no different. You let 'em go too much. Then you keep 'em home too much. And then you say, I got a lady called me last night sometime. She said to me, Mrs. Barbee, where

Page 31
did I go wrong at. And see I know, because Louise and her children grew up together partly. She said, I let 'em go and I give 'em permission. She's a much younger woman than I am. She said, I let 'em go, and they don't respect me one bit. And I said, one thing Mrs. Brown, children grow up over night. Did I say Mrs. Brown? I didn't mean to call her her name. [Laughter]
BEVERLY JONES:
Well I don't think anybody would know it.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well anyway, I said children grow up over night. And when you do your very best—I said, and it's another thing being parents. I said, don't think of blaming yourself too much, it's the age that we're living in. They hold 'em too tight. That's dangerous, that's a whole lot worse I think. When you hold—they haven't been out there to find out what it's all about. They are not equipped to meet it, you know. You're just holding 'em. Then when you let 'em go, and they're heading into danger and you know it. You know it, you see the danger. Then you tell 'em about it and try to hold 'em back and they rebel. I don't think they mean to do it—they rebel against you. You're their target. They rebel against you, and it make me sick, I can't go, I can't do this and I can't do that—let me live my life. Well you don't want surrender. You keep on bumping at that thing and harping at you. You won't surrender. You talk and talk and talk. So finally you do surrender. But when you surrender, don't give yourself the credit. They've seen where they were wrong, but they ain't going to give you no credit for that. 'Cause a incident happened to me. Louise left, and I begged and I cried. Going down there to Fayetteville to see a vet—she met a guy. I liked the guy, I did. Really frankly speaking, I ain't going to tell no lie, I really liked him. But, he was married. He wasn't living with

Page 32
his wife. And I saw danger there. She'd go down there every weekend. And I cried. I wrote the vet some letters and all. And I cried and I cried. And I would tell her not to go. And after the boy finally, he said, Louise what's the big rush. I'd answer the phone and he'd get out about coming down there. So you know what happened in that case. The last time she went down there he broke it off his self. I just gave it up. He told Louise, he said, "Louise some day you're going to thank me for this." So I told her, I said he was a gentleman. I said, if you all never see each other again, I'll always remember him. His name was Marshall MacMillan. She said, "Why do you say that?" I said because of the fact that at the rate you were going, he could a used you. And he was too much of a gentleman to use you. And I said, I'll always thank him for it. He could a used her, just used her, because he saw where she was heading. But he just broke it off. He came in here and Louise got hot to sit right there. And I talked to him. I said, she's rather young and she hasn't been out there, she don't know nothing. And I don't want her to get hurt. I said, I understand you and your wife separated. I said, that's a personal thing. I said, but you all are going to different places and I don't know the type of life you had. [interruption]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Came here one Friday evening, I'll never forget it. Just crying, oh boy, was she crying. I got sick as a dog. She was just crying and crying. She said, "Momma, I wish I had listened at you." I said, lord. She said, "What." I didn't question, he broke it off. And she cried and she cried. So I said to Vets, I said, you know I was thinking about that thing. I said Marshall could've used Louise, but he didn't do it, he was too much of a gentleman. He could've had her running down there every five minutes. The way she was going, he could get out about going. But you see, I don't know what happened between

Page 33
them. But she came and told me she wished she had a listened at me. But I don't know whether that was it or not. She just seen the thing, the situation, for herself. I'd been crying, and oh lord, I worried so. I don't know whether me interfering in her life like that had an impact on her emotional life. But I just couldn't sit here and keep my mouth shut. I couldn't do it. No mother does. I didn't fuss for her. Just, "got anything to tell me before I go." I'd be laying right here on the bed, she was getting ready to go. I said, no. She said, "Are you sure?" I said, yeah. Crying up a mess. Oh god, just crying. Not crying that the boy was going to hurt her—he was too much of a gentleman. I was crying because a situation may have developed. See he separated from his wife [unknown] somebody get hurt. That's what I was crying for. 'Cause I had already talked with him about it. I said, I don't want her to get hurt. I said, I don't know your wife. He was in the hospital and he called and told her when he was in the hospital and all that. Now I don't know whether she blamed me for that or not. I don't know. But if she blames me for anything I've said in her life, that's allright, I'm not worried about it. Because I knew if that had kept up, something was going to develop.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now what is your daughter doing now?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
She's in D.C. getting a job. She's supposed to be interviewed for a job today.
BEVERLY JONES:
And she is in school.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. She got a paper to go back in September. Hopefully that she will.
BEVERLY JONES:
So she'll be a senior.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.

Page 34
BEVERLY JONES:
At North Carolina Central University.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
When did your husband die?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
October the 19, 1966.
BEVERLY JONES:
And was it very difficult for you to make it economically and socially after his death. Especially having a daughter who probably at this time was about—Louise was born in…
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
She was nine. Nine years old. Nine, she was ten December—he was already dead. Yes, it was very difficult. Economically, socially, and everything else. Because of the fact—I had to be two parents in one. Two of 'em. And at that early stage it wasn't too much of a problem. It was more economical than anything else, 'cause she hadn't got out into the social light. You know, like young girls get. She hadn't never got out into that. But when she began to get in the social light, I had to be the spokesman, trying to tell her what's right and what's wrong. And telling her what's out there. And I had to keep it up continuously, telling her that I don't care who go out there and do something and get by with it, you can't. Just be yourself. And I've told her, I've said, Louise—and I've told others that were involved in it—I said, now if you do wrong, do it 'cause you want to do it. I've told her that more than one time. I said, if you go out here and get drunk, get drunk 'cause you want to get drunk. I said, there's liquor out there, drink it because you want to drink it. Don't drink it for nobody else. 'Cause somebody else will go out there and get drunk and they've been doing it for years, it won't scar them much. They could probably handle it. But if you go out there and get drunk, something might happen to you.
BEVERLY JONES:
What type of job did your husband have, what did he do for a living?

Page 35
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Domestic. I would come under domestic work, because he raked yards and worked in private homes, you know. Raking the yard, yard work—mostly yard work.
BEVERLY JONES:
Let me go back to 1922, the family moves to Durham and you stay here for awhile, and then you move back. Well, the family moves back to Manning in 1925, and then later granddaddy brings you back up here.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
How old were you when you came to Durham, can you recall. I'm quite sure you were very young.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The first time or the last time granddaddy brought us here.
BEVERLY JONES:
The first time.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The first time. Wasn't even in school. Yeah, wait a minute. Yes I was. I'm getting confused. Yes, we were in school, because I went to Hillside. I can see some of my teachers now. One of 'em was so mean. I went to Hillside.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well, maybe you were
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
BEVERLY JONES:
You know for the early part of your life.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting.
BEVERLY JONES:
What, the buildings.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting, where we lived at there was something going on all the time. People cutting up and going on. Over there on Poplar Street. I can see that now. We had some nice elderly neighbors, but it was very exciting.

Page 36
BEVERLY JONES:
So what do you mean, cutting up, people fighting?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, fighting and going on. [Laughter]
BEVERLY JONES:
So the farm was quite…
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Dull. Very dull. [Laughter]
BEVERLY JONES:
So this was exciting.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting. Being children we didn't know any better. It was very exciting to stand up and see somebody, you know, lay somebody out. Very exciting. And some neighbors, that wasn't so nice, using them kind of words, you know. They was very exciting to us. But, it didn't rub off on us.
BEVERLY JONES:
So he made sure of that.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
He made very, very sure of that. But to us it was very exciting, you know, even though …
BEVERLY JONES:
Well how was it like living in the city with people near you. Because you were on the farm and people were maybe miles apart from you.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you get adjusted to living so close to individuals.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, yeah. Very, very much so. Because we was fortunate enough—despite the exciting people that did things they shouldn't have did, we had some nice elderly neighbors. Very friendly. Older people lived near us on the same street. They were very friendly and very nice.
BEVERLY JONES:
You were renting?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, we were renting. They were, all of us were renting. Those houses torn right round there on Poplar Street. That's where my mother died, the second house from the corner. And I think I carried Louise by to show it to her before they tore 'em down. And another thing, the show was right round the corner.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh, the movie house.

Page 37
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The movie house.
BEVERLY JONES:
So everything was exciting. [Laughter]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. Bakery, movie house, bakery, a barber shop, and all that, right there in Hayti. If we wanted anything, we'd go around there to the bakery, get it. Wanted to go to the show, go right down to the corner. They was right round there. The hosiery mill is right over there, people passing by, going back and forth to work at the hosiery mill. So we were really right in the center. We were right there on Poplar Street. That's right in the center of uptown, almost uptown. 'Cause we wasn't very far from uptown where we were living at that time—where he first carried us when we first came to Durham.
BEVERLY JONES:
What was your first job in Durham?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
At the factory.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, so Liggett and Myers. Do you recall when you began working there?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I'd say '28 or '29.
BEVERLY JONES:
And what type of job?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
What I was doing—mostly sweeping. I couldn't stem the tobacco, I just couldn't do it. But they had women stemming, but I never was a stemmer.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were the women that were stemming, were they all black or were they white women?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh, on that side, I'm going to tell it like it is now. On that side where we were working, black women did all the hard and nasty work, that's what I say. On the cigarette side, where they wore those white uniforms and made sure no blacks worked over there.

Page 38
BEVERLY JONES:
So what type of hard and nasty jobs did black women have to perform?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Okay, I'm going to describe it for you. Okay, you know, they had a season of year—they'd send tobacco in sheets from Georgia. It'd come in sheets, full of sand, full of everything. It was their job to take this tobacco out of the sheets and put it on a machine. You could just lift it out—you didn't have to—just as much as you want, and feed it in this belt that ran down to a large machine. And then the next job when the green season was over for Georgia leaves from Georgia, you'd work in the fall and take in this tobacco off a large thing called a hartege. It was already tied up and dried out and you'd take it off and feed it in a machine. The same thing, same type of work, wasn't nasty and dirty because it had been seasoned out. And you'd work up there, it was so hot the sweat would be—I never did perspire much, you know. Sweat would be—you'd see the women coming out there, you couldn't find a dry place on 'em. For water. I'm telling you 'cause I was up there. But I never did sweat much, I don't know why. Some boys teased me once, they said, you're higher brown. I said, maybe I am. But I worked with that, you know, condition.
BEVERLY JONES:
There was no ventilation.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, the windows were open but the building was so large. No air conditioning.
BEVERLY JONES:
So the women—now you did sweeping, so that meant that you swept up all the …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, swept the floors, sweep around the harteges, and just had a broom sweeping and getting up the waste tobacco that didn't get in the machine.

Page 39
BEVERLY JONES:
How much did you get paid?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well I can remember when I worked, that was for twenty cent a hour. Twenty cents per hour.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you know the women that were doing the stemming, did they get more?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, you see in stemming you could make as much as you want. They gave you so much per pound. That's where you had it on the others. If you could stem a lot, you got a lot of money because they were paying you per pound to stem. There was a lot of money in that for stemming. Oh I couldn't stem, I never was a stemmer. You take that tobacco out and you pile it on a sheet and they weigh it. The man write it down. If you have a hundred pounds and three hundred or four hundred or what have you. But the stemmers made good money because—but you had to really stem the count because—in other words, you was mostly your own boss, depending on how much you could stem. That's they way that worked.
BEVERLY JONES:
Let me see, let me go back. You mentioned that it was so hot that women would come out just perspiring and their clothes would be wet. Was it healthy working in the factory at that time?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I've often—now I'm glad you brought that up, I'm so glad. I've often wondered about that, because of the fact that the working conditions wasn't all that pleasant. I'm glad you brought that up. And the dust, there was a lot of dust. They had something to kind of keep the dust down, but naturally regardless of how cautious they were you couldn't—they couldn't have something to accumulate all that dust so that it wouldn't get to the workers. I'm quite sure. I and everybody else inhaled some of it.

Page 40
BEVERLY JONES:
Were there any women that became very sickly because …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
What, do you recall what were some of the complaints, coughing, whatever?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Some of 'em became sickly, some of 'em would get too hot and fall out. Oh yeah I'm glad you brought—they had salt tablets in a dispenser on the wall. When you get too hot you go there and get a—I distinctly remember that—they had salt tablets, you could go there and get a salt. I never did bother because I just never lose that much water. But you can go there and get your salt tablets. They say that would help. And they had a little—what you call it—a dispenser, hospital up there, on our part. But, I want you to get this, they had a small one on ours, but the largest one was on the other side.
BEVERLY JONES:
So they completely—that was a form of racism.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. Beyond a reasonable doubt. It was on the other side. But they had one on our side though, they had one. A small one, you could go over there and get first aid treatments, the nurse would examine you. And you'd go home, and then—they had a factory doctor. Dr. Roberts. I got a splinter in my finger, some kind of way, it wouldn't come out. I told them that I got it up there in some tobacco, I don't know whether I did or not. But you know how I had to go to the factory doctor. He treated it and I waited as long as he say go, you know. Yeah they had a—Dr. Roberts was the factory doctor. The company had employed a doctor, you know, he just worked for the company only. How I found out, they told me to go to him for the splinter in my finger. And I went. And they asked me, did you get it up in here. I said yes. I forgot, I might not have gotten it up there. But anyway, he treated it.

Page 41
Anybody get sick, and so sick for her—this lady, Mrs. Susie Cress, she was one of the nurses. Carolina Dunn was another one. I think she retired from there some kind of way.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were there black nurses?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh, okay.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Carolina Dunn is the only one that had her certificate though. Them others, I'm not quite sure about that. But Miss Carolina Dunn, I'm quite sure she was a R.N., a registered nurse. She worked up there for I don't know how many—and I think Junior Amey's wife worked up in the latter part of the years, I think. I'm not for sure, I have to—I've forgotten. Now maybe she did, in the latter years, worked up there in that, you know, that part of the hospital where the employees could go.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you recall any woman at that time that became sick and was hospitalized, you know, taken to a hospital, because of maybe being drained physically because of the work of just being dehydrated, or any instances in reference to a woman who might've been taken out or taken to the hospital because of conditions.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, I don't believe I have. I know there were some sickness up there but the cause, I don't know. They would get sick, yeah, they would get sick. Some of 'em would get sick and stay out a long time.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about women that are pregnant. Were they allowed to work up to a certain time, or were they just …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I'm trying to think—because she went to work and had her baby that night.
BEVERLY JONES:
Who was that, Mariah? Oh she did, she worked up until the baby …

Page 42
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The baby was born that night. I had to think about the incident I knew about because she was the only one I could—you know, she worked in there. I think she worked in there and the baby was born that night, I think.
BEVERLY JONES:
So Mrs. Judd was working in the factory about the same time you were?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yes, we worked together up there. She sure was. She and her husband both. Yes sir. Both of 'em worked at Liggett and Myers. Both of 'em. Yeah, they both worked up there. Miss Herlan worked up there, Miss Daniels, Willie, Sadie—what's her name—Sadie Green.
BEVERLY JONES:
I didn't know that. What time did you have to report to work, what time did you go to work?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I'm trying to think. Seven o'clock.
BEVERLY JONES:
And what time did you get off?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Four.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you have lunch?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. One hour, it seems like to me in the beginning it was thirty minutes but I think they lengthen to an hour, one hour. I would say one hour, the latter years we worked, one hour. And we have worked on Sunday. You're too young to know about that. Somewhere where their get their tobacco from, the flood came and ruined the tobacco. And they wanted to use it anyway so you had to work on Sunday.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now were you paid extra for working on Sunday?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I think at that particular time you were paid extra, working on Sunday. And late—I've worked up there long enough to get time and a half for holidays and time and a half for Saturdays, and double time for Sunday.

Page 43
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, what facilities were provided for eating—you know, you got an hour for lunch.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Got a hour for lunch. Had a large cafeteria. Go over there and get your breakfast, and you could also buy your food. They had men up there cooking. Mr. Alston used to live in that house right there, him and his wife, who was named Maggie. He was one of the cooks at Liggett and Myers. He died. You don't know nothing about him. They owned that house next to where Panzola is living. He was a cook up there.
BEVERLY JONES:
I remember some members of the family. Yeah, 'cause one of the daughters was at Hillside when I was there.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Now that might've been Maggie's son's daughter I guess.
BEVERLY JONES:
It could've been. So they provided an area so that you could eat.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Eat, yeah. A large cafeteria.
BEVERLY JONES:
And you could leave what you were doing, the type of work you were doing, to use the bathroom facilities.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yes lordy. They would take advantage of it too and I couldn't blame 'em.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, where were the bathrooms, were they on the floor or …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
On the floors, every one of the bathrooms was on the floor. The only thing, in my opinion, that wasn't so nice—you got to work on the fourth floor, you climbed the steps but they got so they wouldn't bother you about riding the elevator. Which is a freight elevator. But you could ride it. They didn't bother you about riding the elevator.

Page 44
BEVERLY JONES:
Did all women work on the same floor or did they put men …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, in the beginning they had the second floor, third floor, three floors.
BEVERLY JONES:
For all women. Did men and women work together.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. But in my opinion mostly men—that was a women thing, mostly the women that work was done by. Oh they got a few men, the most of the men worked down in the pipe—where they make pipe smoking tobacco. And the men would work on the outside where you handle the harteges. Handle the tobacco for us to work with, that's where most of the men work. But the other type of work I'm telling you, women did it.
BEVERLY JONES:
So most of the immediate preparation for the stemming and the tobacco preparation was done by women.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Women, women, women.
BEVERLY JONES:
How about children. Did children work in the factory?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
They may have, before they passed that law. They may have. 'Cause I've worked with a old lady, she went up there when she weren't nothing but a child. I reckon they didn't have a law. That was maybe when the company was first establshed. Later years you had to get your birth certificate and everything.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now in the community in which you lived, did the majority of women work, and if so, what type of work did they do? Were you still living on Poplar Street than?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
We was living on Cobb Street.
BEVERLY JONES:
On Cobb.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.

Page 45
BEVERLY JONES:
Well do you recall …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, not all of 'em worked, 'cause there was Miss Cora Hernley, you know Charlie Hernley barber shop down here. Well she was the one who married Charlie Hernley, but he wasn't with her. Oh yes he did, 'cause Miss Daisy worked at the factory and her sister Ruth—Ruth died, yeah they worked at the factory. Most of the women that we knew real well, they worked at the factory. Mamie Robinson worked there and Lee Johnson. All around the area, younger women worked, the same thing. If they didn't work there they'd work at the American. Either one of the plants.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about the hosiery mill?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I don't know, that was before my time. Tell me it was blooming, but that was before my time. Yeah it was blooming, but that was in the early years when poppa first came here it was blooming. Black women worked there, but I don't know. A whole lot of 'em, they tell me, a whole lot. Mr. Fogle's mother worked there. She worked there for awhile, yeah. I've never been in a hosiery mill, but now let me see, did Minnie Gaines. No, I think she said cousin Lizzie used to work there, her mother.
BEVERLY JONES:
So Mrs. Folger's mother did work in the hosiery mill?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now, what benefits did you receive working at Liggett and Myers. Were there any benefits like hospitalization or vacation and whatever?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yep.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now I was told in the forties there was a strike. Do you know anything about Local 308 and Local 194?

Page 46
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Seem like that 194 ring a bell. 'Cause I was in the union, I forgot. I think that 194 might have been the black—they were separated, now they tell me they're incorporated.
BEVERLY JONES:
Right. I was told that the 194 was for the stemmery and women were basically in that …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
That's it—194.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay. So there was a strike in the forties.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
There was a strike in the forties. I'm trying to think. The strike in the forties might have been before they got established good, you know, got it up off the ground you'd call it. Just before they got it up off the ground. But I have worked under that union, you know, take out union dues. And it was a thing that wasn't compulsory, you could join if you wanted to. But it would have been better that everybody join it because you see, if it became known to the other employees you weren't in it, they could kind of make it hard for you, you know. The work conditions—bad for the work with somebody. When you're working, there's got to be some harmony there to make the work easier for you. But if you divided a group of people over here belong to the union and a group over there don't, there's going to be a conflict, in there. I don't mean they would just, you know, come out and fight you. But they can do so many other things that make your working conditions very unpleasant. And so, I don't know, I was in the union, joined it. They'd tell you not to join in and I said, well it'd be better to join it than to be outside it—they'd worry you so much, they'd worry you to death. And I worked under it to see what good it would do. 'Cause Miss Dora Jones, she lived down here—you know her don't you?
BEVERLY JONES:
Right.

Page 47
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Lois used to live with her. A incident happened there …
BEVERLY JONES:
She worked at the factory?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yeah, she was one of the leaders in the union thing the last year.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh she was.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, she'd take the complaints and things. She was a hard worker in that union. Very hard worker. A incident happened one day, with this young boy. The foreman was another young boy. So he told the boy, he said, "Boy, move these trucks out of the way." The boy acted like he didn't hear him. And he said, "I'm talking to you boy." He said, "Are you talking to me?" He said, "Yeah, I'm talking to you." "No you're not." He said, "I have a name 'cause it's on the payroll, and you carry it." Kept on, "I mean move these trucks." I mean, it kept on. I told that child, I said, look we're going to have some excitement directly. He went up to the boy and pointed his fingers in his face. He said, "Boy I mean for you to move these trucks." He said, "You still talking to me. Okay, so I'll move 'em." I won't say the cuss word. He took that man by the seat of his pants. We was four floors up. He said, "When I get you to this window you going to be four floors down." And Dora went running up there, she said he was laid on the floor. He had him. Was going to drag him to the window and pitch him out. And Dora came up there and somebody told her and when Dora got to 'em, this boy had him. Carried him to the window. And he had to pass right by us where we were working near the window—it faces the main street. And honey, when Dora went up there it was all she could do to make that black boy turn that boy loose. We was four floors up and he said in a few minutes you going to be four floors down 'cause I'm carrying you to the window right now. Oh, she had to call for some of those men to come and

Page 48
get that black boy off of that boy. Had him by the seat of his pants, was going to pitch him down four floors. I never will forget that. Here's what happened. She told the boy, she said. And he said, "Lady." He cursed again. "Don't you come here with your so and so mess about the so and so union. I've walked in here a free man, I'm going to walk out a free man. 'Cause I do my work. I don't need nobody to tell me what to do unless either I got a name. When I walked in this plant my name was on the payroll. And anybody, you or anybody else, better call me by my name." He said, "I just walked in here. I ain't been here but two weeks and if I stay here, you ain't seen nothing yet." So she talked to him and talked to him, she carried on. She went to the office, came back with one of the head men. And when she came back, I said, Oh—o-. And he said you go get that so and so and bring him out here. He said all I want him to do is hand me my time. He said, "I ain't taking back none of it. Now he come out here and he ain't right, I'm gonna whup him." So they went and got him, came on back and took the white boy. Each floor has a office, a little, you know, office. Took the white boy and carried him in the office, him and the head man, and then they'd taken him on out. I ain't seen that boy no more. Black boy went on back to work, hustling trucks. So it must have helped some. It either helped or they couldn't get nobody to work and had to treat him right. I'll put it like that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, that's like in the forties. What were the demands, what were the grievances. Do you recall?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
More money and better working conditions if I can recall. More money and better working conditions.
BEVERLY JONES:
And what type of strategy did you use. You just boycotted Liggett and Myers or you just didn't go to work at all.

Page 49
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I think the strategy they used is oneness, you see. Because of the fact, over there where the white people worked and over where the black people worked, somehow or another they got together. But you know, I'm going to tell it like it is. The black people had no choice. When the white people closed down on there side, you see—see how much pull they got. When they closed down there where they actually made the cigarettes, automatically the company had no choice but to close down where we were at. So they really had the ace card over there. So the company just closed down. I don't say the black people did it, 'cause they didn't have no voice no how. The white people did, over where they actually make the cigarettes. All of them got together, and said we won't go to work. Well the company just closed down over there where we were. And that was oneness. But they did it. I've said as poor as black folks is, you know they won't stay home, no, that was their bread, you know. The white people did. They got together and say, if they won't do it, we'll just close down. They did it.
BEVERLY JONES:
And you got what you wanted?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I guess they got what they wanted. I know that the salaries began to increase. So that was one of the demands, the salary.
BEVERLY JONES:
How much were you making after the strike? Were you still working at Liggett and Myers after the strike?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I worked at Liggett and Myers up until 1963. 'Cause I went up there to see about something one day and the man over there in that know Poppa said, yeah you worked here as late as '63. I said '63 is seasonal work. You know, working the season. You work with green tobacco see, when that's over you're out. So he told me and I said, what. And he said yeah, it's on record. You worked your last working period was in '63. And as near as I can remember—I got some of

Page 50
them old stubs in a box or in a bag around here—I made more in a season than I did in previous years in a whole year. That shows you in comparison.
BEVERLY JONES:
So when you were doing the job of sweeping the floors you were just working as a full time employee.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
And then later on you switched to a seasonal type of work.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
When the machines came. There was a reason for that though. They put these machines in.
BEVERLY JONES:
About when was that, do you recall?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Nineteen sixty, early sixties. When they put those machines in, and they didn't need no more black employees. Just a few of 'em go. In the later years they worked a few black women up until, I know Hannah Williams said she went back. I didn't go back, my seniority wasn't long enough. Worked a few black women up until '65 I think. Seasonal work. That's because, whoever they send back for is because of your seniority. So at last they phased all of 'em out. I don't know whether there were any black women working on that side that I worked on or not. I don't know. But you see, here's the hang up Beverly. When they began to pay decent wages, machinery took over, you know what I'm talking about. The machinery came in there and did the work that we were supposed to be doing. You did it by machine. So machinery really put a lot of black women out doors. I don't know how it is on the Duke side. They got a lot of black women over there now, actually helping make the cigarettes on that side I heard. Now I haven't been in communication with the factory in so long I wouldn't know. But I heard there was a lot of black women over there, actually

Page 51
making cigarettes. Or in the cigarette processing, you know, making 'em, wearing white dresses, I heard. But the years I worked up there you didn't see anything but white women coming up. White shoes and white dresses on.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now what did you wear in the earlier part?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Blue uniforms, white cuffs and collar, and blue hats with a white band on it. Yeah, we wore uniforms.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were these supplied by the company or did you have to buy 'em.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Seems like to me you had to pay for 'em. That weren't no good either.
BEVERLY JONES:
So this would have to come out of your check.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, we had to pay for 'em. I always thought that was—but they were pretty. Along then when Liggett and Myers was in their bloom a lady came from New York—I don't know who that lady was. And we were going downtown one day and she said, "Where do you all work. I came to Durham especially to see Liggett and Myers." I said we worked at Liggett and Myers. She said, "Is everybody uniformed?" I said, yeah, everybody is uniformed. She said, "I'm going to have to get me a picture of this." I said well, you'll have to go to the main office. She said, "Where is the main office?" I told her where to get to the main office. She said, "I've got to have one." And she was standing up there in front of Roses. No, United Auto Store. And she was standing up just looking. Kind of early, you know, her early sixties. She said, "I've never seen nothing like this in all of my life. I've got to have a picture." I said, well you go up there and they'll tell you how to get a picture. Wanted to get a picture of all the employees in all this blue. And they had a lawn over there right where the office is now. And honey, all out

Page 52
there under them trees, if you didn't want to eat in the cafeteria. Seem like to me they did—I'll tell you, in the end they did away, after our part became seasonal, they did away with the cafeteria on our side. And you was allowed to go on the other side and eat, in later years. You see what I'm talking about. I went over there one day to eat, just to go on over there to eat and I found a roach in my salad so I didn't go back. [Laughter] There was a nice place on the other side, very nice.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now in the earlier years in the twenties, in the later twenties, do you know of any woman that was fired?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Lord they'd fire 'em all the time honey.
BEVERLY JONES:
Why?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, they would fire 'em. There's a lot of prejudice up there among the—I call 'em the little foremens.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were there any black foremans?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were there any black women foremen or supervisors?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, I wouldn't call 'em supervisors, they just had a little job to go around and read the meters. You know the stemming machine had a meter on it. They could go around and read the meters and things like that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now this was in the later twenties.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, that was later than that, must be '44.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about the later twenties, were there any black women who were…
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Not that I know of.
BEVERLY JONES:
So all your foremen were men …

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ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
And white.
BEVERLY JONES:
In the later twenties.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, men and white. All of them was white.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well how did they relate to black women working. Basically what I'm trying to get at is how did they treat you.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Now, that's the thing. Oh they'd treat you nice. But some of our women made it very hard by being so humble.
BEVERLY JONES:
So they would say yes sir or mister.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Being humble. I had a incident that happened to me and they was fixing to fire me. I went to New York with Dorothy Campbell, you know the Thompsons around here, Gertrude and all—her aunt, Dorothy, Dee and I, her mother is too. Well I went to New York and stayed with her, she and Marie, in the early forties. I was up there during the strike in Harlem. It's been so long, you don't know nothing about that. Buddie Farrington her brother, came over there to take me to Harlem. They were striking over there, I told him I didn't want to go. So I went to New York and stayed two weeks and never did see Harlem. Went up there and stayed. And I told Marie, Marie [unknown]. I said I'm going to New York. And I told her to tell him I was going. She said he said you can have a week, you can't have two. I said, well look here Marie. I said, I'm not begging nobody to let—tell him to give me my time when go up there. Everybody else'll leave here and stay two weeks and three weeks. "Well Annie, you know." I said,—the job. I told her that she was a little union lady. She said, all right, you go, you'll get fired. I said, well right now I don't care. That's what I told her. Well, I went on. Who called me. I think your momma told them children to call me. Called me up. Said Mr. Vickers or somebody said if I didn't

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bring my so and so back here he was going to fire my so and so. I was in New York. Okay, I said, thank you. I said, yes I'm coming home, but I got two more days. I stayed. I didn't come home. Came on back and she said, "Annie I'm scared." I said, yeah I'm going up there to face it. I said, nobody, nobody tells me what I can do and what I can't. This ain't no slavery time. I was hot as a forty-five. I said, now I'm going back up there. You better be careful, I ain't being careful, no. So I got ready and went on back to work. I went to Marie, I said I got a call when I was in New York for me to come back to work. And I said I'm up here this morning, I said, I'm up here to be fired so fire me. So I thought that's settle, I said, I don't know what you done. I said, now I told you to tell—I forgot who it must have been, Mr. Vickers or somebody—I'm going to New York. I said, you told 'em and I said, I went and told him myself, he said okay. I said, now what happened while I was gone. I said, now you're the union leader, you better tell me something and tell me now. 'Cause I was mad. She said, "Annie, be careful." I said, I ain't bowing to none of these white people goddamn ass. I told her right there in her face. I said I ain't bowing. I said, no, I'm a single woman and I can get a job. I said, I ain't no old woman, I ain't bowing. I went around there, I said, I didn't come to go to work, I came to see about this firing business. I said, I ain't begging. "Well you're talking so bad he might fire you." So let him fire me, I said, I'm ready. Went on around there. I said to Mr. Vickers, I said, no. He said, "Are you back Annie?" I said, yeah. I said there's been some misunderstanding about when I went to last night. You know as long as I've been here I wouldn't walk off the job. I said, somebody told a lie on me, how who is it. He said, "I don't know." I said, well I got a call …
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
'Cause I wouldn't buy it. Coming up there an telling old nasty jokes.
BEVERLY JONES:
Who was that?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The foreman, saying old nasty jokes.
BEVERLY JONES:
In front of women?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
They joined in, I'm telling you now.
BEVERLY JONES:
Black women
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, you just don't know. You see, I think some of these women ought to tell the young people how it is. I think it's time for them to tell how it is. Any two time you put yourself on the line and don't demand respect and carry yourself in a way that makes somebody respect you, that's your fault. I don't care if it's the president of the United States, I'm a person and I demand respect. If it costs me something I'll pay it. They didn't do it. They'd laugh and play them old nasty jokes and here they go. And I would never laugh. Someone'd say, you so solemn. I said I'm up here to work, 'cause that's my purpose in this factory, is to work. And I don't tell nasty jokes whether they're black or white, nobody, I don't tell no nasty jokes with nobody. I said, I'm a person. I said well if you're scared you're going to get fired and let them man fumble your behind and say all that …
BEVERLY JONES:
They didn't do that did they? The white foremen would do this to black women?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Who was at fault. They were. If you don't put dignity on you there ain't nobody else who's going to do it. You sit around here and don't put it on you, who else going to put it on you. You're a

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person. I don't care how low your job is, regardless it's honest work. You're not stealing. You are a person within your own right, and you demand respect from people, don't care a durn who it is and how high it is, you demand it. It'll cost you something but be willing to pay it. No honey, I said I ain't bowing. I said I don't bow to nobody. I don't bow to nobody but god. It'll cost you something, but I don't bow. I know that there is a time for meekness and humbling. I know that. I got sense enough to know that. But this is not the time. See I knew if he had fired me I would a had a hard time finding another—but I was willing to pay the price. Come telling me when to go and telling me I could go and then calling way up to New York and telling me I better bring my so and so back home. I didn't, I came when I got ready. And I think, if I can remember, came when I got ready and stayed my two weeks out. I went to work on a Monday and I came back here on a Thursday. I didn't go up there 'till that Monday. I took just the exact day. He didn't know nothing about it. I never did tell him.
BEVERLY JONES:
So that means you were living with him and …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, I think he was over there with Miss Carrie. Him and Polly and Laura.
BEVERLY JONES:
So where were you?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I was there with them too but in New York at that time.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh so the rest of the sisters had already married out.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, me, Polly, Laura and I were living together. And I went to New York and stayed two weeks and left them in the house. He never did know that they sent for me. They told your momma. She's the one that had them to call me. Tell me to come back and Mr. Vicker see,

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Vicker said he was going to hide my so and so. He's the one that cussed all day. I was ready to cuss him that morning though. Honey, my cuss words were just hanging. When he cussed me I was going to cuss him back. He saw me when I walked in, he knew I was ready for business. And I told Marie, I said, now when he comes, tell him to bring the firing papers with him. I said I'll gladly walk out. I said this ain't no slavery time and nobody tells me when to go and come and I don't ask permission. I said, and I ain't going to ask to stay on this durn job. Well she said, (makes high pitched noise). I said, no. She said, "Annie, if you don't quit your ways they're going to fire you for it." I said let 'em fire me, I'm ready. Here's the thing about it Beverly, we're seeing a picture here. I know white folks is mean and nasty. I know that. I don't have to ask nobody. But if you don't stand up and demand respect they won't give you nothing, you have to demand it. And let 'em know you willing to pay the price to get it. There's no other way. I knew that was my livelihood. And I knew it was in his power to fire me. I knew that. But I was going to let him know something too. I was going to let him know, no more slavery time. And if he fired me off that job, I could get another one somewhere. Not getting the amount of money I was getting but I'd find something to do. That was not my heaven nor hell. They did it. And the work would've been a whole lot better if they hadn't a done it. They did it. "Here comes Mr. so and so." I said oh, lord have mercy.
BEVERLY JONES:
So let me get an idea of how you were working in your seasonal. It was a very large room that you worked in.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, everybody. All this whole thing and Lottie, over there was Ms. Jones.

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BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, now you had tables and chairs, you know, how was it set up?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
You were standing. No tables and chairs, you were standing.
BEVERLY JONES:
You stood up from seven to four o'clock?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
On the stemming machine, before they'd get away with it. You'd stand here and feed tobacco. And you and two more women putting tobacco on the table getting ready for her, and she'd feed it. Then you all would switch. But you were standing on your feet. No table, no chairs. And when we got ready to feed the tobacco on—'cause when I was carrying Louise, that's the last job I did up there, I think I went back a little after that—and …
BEVERLY JONES:
How long did you work while you were carrying Louise?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I worked a whole season, 'cause she was just born in December. I worked up until—we got out before Christmas, yeah. And he looked at me, he said, "Annie, I don't think you can …
BEVERLY JONES:
You were standing up while you were pregnant?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. He said, "I don't think you can lift this tobacco." He came to me, I didn't ask him. He said, "I'm going to give you a job sweeping. You're not in a position to lift no tobacco. From now on to the season, you just mess around and sweep." He came and told me. He said, "I'm going to give you a job sweeping, and only mess around." So I swept and messed around. I was sick though, heartburn. Physically fit but just a heartburn. I had it so bad, I declare. And other than that it wasn't… And my doctor, I had Dr. Ethel Easeley, she's my doctor. I went to a private doctor. I wasn't taking no chances, I was scared as what. And so she, Dr. Evelyn Easeley, Dr. Richard Pierce and Dr…

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BEVERLY JONES:
That's at the Women's Clinic.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, that's where I went.
BEVERLY JONES:
Right, that's where, okay, I know where …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, that's where I went.
BEVERLY JONES:
Yeah.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
You see, let me tell you. That's why I got to—if Louise come home, I've got to get to her fast. It's nice for people to work together, if it was black and you're white. But when things—I'm not talking about nobody, 'cause I married the man—when you know things ain't right, god gave you a head and some sense. That's your body. I knew I wasn't going to Duke's Clinic. And I was working, making on my own money, and I went where I wanted to go. You see, being married don't mean that your husband controls your whole life. You all work together. If he didn't have no money, no job, fitting to do, then he might have resented it anyway. I'm not saying that he did. But I knew what I was going to do. That was my life and I was carrying his child, it's true, but I was going to look after myself which was number one. And I went to Dr. Easley from then on until my baby was born. Oh, I was talked about like a dog. Mandy Black was one of 'em. "You went to—oh lord, Duke." I said, look Mandy, I had to get her told, 'cause that was my body. And I knew at the age I was fixing to have a baby anything could've happened. And I said, it was my money. I shut her up there one day. She didn't speak to me for a whole day. "I went to the clinic." I said, yeah, you've had more than one child too. And I imagine you had your child before I had mine. I said, now that's my money. And I went where the doctor's going to look after me. She said, "They do the same thing at Duke." I said, yeah, but you got to go through so much rigamarole.

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I said, you sit there all day. And that's another thing, who got something to do with it. Oh, she laid me out. "How come you went to a private doctor." Nurse Douglas said something to me about that after Louise was born. "You went to a?" I said yes I did. "Well you know you can't," so and so. I said, I went out there and had the baby, so what. She made me so mad. Running your business. That was my money. I was paying them folks. I'm not going to no Duke. Then when I got to him, he said, "Lewis used to work for him, show you about white pecks." He said, "Who recommended"—Dr. Easeley was my first doctor—"Who recommended you to Dr. Easeley, most women go out to Duke's." I said, Dr. Pearse, I have been to Dr. Easeley before. "Oh I didn't know that." I said, I went to her. Something happened to me and I went to her. I didn't go into details, he didn't have nothing to do with it. And I said, when I saw I was pregnant, I went back to her. And then I told her I wanted to go to her 'till my baby was born. And I said, your money was spent anyway. He said, "I didn't mean no harm." Well you see I had to go by three doctors incorporated. Dr. Richard Pearse and Dr. Evelyn Easeley and another doctor. Roberta, she knows him. There are three of 'em incorporated together and I had to go through all three of 'em so if wouldn't be on the call the other. They had to know the case history. And honey, he looked at me so funny. He said, "Now, did Lewis know you're coming to me?" Oh that made me—honey, I got so mad at that man I could a kicked him. I said, you get your money regardless of who knows what. He said, "I didn't mean no harm, I didn't mean no harm." Dr. Easeley saw me first, she confirmed the pregnancy. Next time I had to see Dr. Richard Pearse, which Lewis used to work him. I'd been at his house plenty a times. And the last one was a little young doctor. And

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the night Louise was born, he didn't come to help Dr. Greenfield to meet me at the emergency. And he ain't done a durn thing but he called Lewis and told him that it was a girl. But I felt good because I knew I was in good hands. That was important to me if it's for a thousand dollars. 'Cause this is my body. Oh lord, they talked about me like a dog. "Well if you're going to get in the habit, they know you went to a private doctor, you couldn't get." I said, who asked them. I laid her out in my house. Who asked for any. Who asked for any help. That's niggers for you. And laid me out 'cause I went to a private doctor. Seeing about me through my whole pregnancy and they thought that was just terrible. What was so terrible about that Beverly?
BEVERLY JONES:
Nothing. I mean you were just mainly concerned about your health and the health of your baby. And at that age that was the most wise decision you could've made.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
That was it. At that age, the age was a factor in it. Forty-three, you having a baby. Honey I was talked about. "Going to a private doctor. You can go to Duke." I said I knew about Dukes. I said, sure I could've gone to Duke. I said, I didn't want to go there. I went where I wanted to go. And I was taken care of. Because I know Dr. Evelyn Easley is a woman specialist. Do you know her? She is a woman specialist. Because I had been to her before and she had my record there. I had a flowing spell, a long time, about two weeks. And when I got better I went to her. And she had that on record. Because you see Dr. Austin Secatur; I went to him first, I'd been to him. That was Ms. Carrie's doctor, you know. When he got through I said, Dr. Secatur what's wrong with me, do I have a cancer, something's bound to be wrong with me. He said, "Take these pills and this stuff and you'll

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be all right." I said, well when am supposed to come back. I want to know something. He said, "You'll be allright." And kind of grinned, it made me hot. He gave me some beige and red pills to take after my meals. Listen to this good Beverly. And some kind of nerve pill. And I kept on messing around, that fool ain't told me. I got hot then. He ain't told me nothing. So I called, told Pansy to make an appointment, he said Annie, it's not going to be about 'till Monday. I said I don't care how long it'd be, let me get to her. I said I ain't staying with Secatur 'cause I was mad with him. I went to her and in about fifteen or twenty minutes she confirmed it.
BEVERLY JONES:
Confirmed what?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Pregnancy.
BEVERLY JONES:
So that's what it was coming from.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
But how come I didn't have no symptoms. Secatur had done given me all this here durn medicine. I didn't vomit, I didn't do nothing. You see the picture.
BEVERLY JONES:
Right, so actually he was just trying to …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
He had them confirmed but he wouldn't tell me. I begged him. I said Dr. Secatur. He said, "No." I said well I'm married, and it's no harm to tell me that I'm pregnant. "You'll be allright. Take this medicine, this medicine, and when this give out you can get some more." I said to myself I'm going to take all of this but I'll never see you no more.
And so I went to Dr. Easley and I reckon I was almost two and a half months. It didn't take her long to do it. She said, "I can not do nothing with you until you lay still. What you so nervous about." I said, nothing. She said, "Now will you relax." I said yes.

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She was a elderly lady with white hair. She said, "Will you." I said yes. I got hot when I went in there. She said, "Do you think you're pregnant. Some of them folks were working around there, nurses and all. I said no, I don't know what's the matter with me. I said this is the place to come ain't it. She said, "Yeah." That's why I'm here. You see now I got hot then, she didn't bother me none. She said, "Most women don't get pregnant at your age." I said, one thing you'd better do, you better go on out here and not say anything else to me. Because I'm here to see Dr. Easley and if there's any questions she asks me I will answer them, I ain't going to answer nary a one of yours. She strutted on out of there. I was ill as a hornet. So Dr. Easley came in, she said, "Relax now so I can examine you." I got up on the table. She looked at me. And I could see the nurses passing by. Old woman, there that thinks she's pregnant. I reckon they was talking about me. So she got through, she said, "Relax." I said Dr. Easley, I'm going to relax 'cause I want to know. She said, "You'll know in a few minutes. Are you relaxed." I said yeah. "I can feel it, you are sure enough relaxed." Took her hands, she said, "A normal pregancy. Wait a minute, lay back down, you ain't right." I laid back down. She said, "What's the matter with you?" I said, nothing. I said, nothing. Something wrong other than that. Then see, she had to calm my nerves. She said, this is what she told me, "Women like you always have your children early." This is not a I want you to get this good. "Women like you always have their children early." See women, how she say it, she didn't say it black and white, she said women, my women, something like that. They delay their rearing families for financial reasons sometimes, they're not out of school, and financial some. She said, "But you women have your children early."

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Oh I got so mad with the woman. I said, lord don't let me show my behind because she's all I got to depend on. But Beverly, if she could a seen me when she said that, oh good gracious alive. I said to myself, I said yeah. I said, but you must understand one thing Dr. Easley, I married late. She said, "Oh you did." I said, yeah. I said I was in my early forties when I married. I married about a year. She said, "No wonder this is a shock to you." Yes it is, it really is. She said, "You didn't think?" I said I didn't—in other words, I'd had no thoughts about it. I didn't think nothing about it. She said, "I know you didn't. Now you're physically fit. The only trouble you'll have is running around with this little one, keeping up with it. I don't see no complications whatever unless you disobey my orders." And I was sitting there. She said, "What's the matter with your finger?" I have a bone like that. She said, "Can you remember if this was always like that." I said yeah, as near as I can remember. She said, "Do you know what caused it?" I said the only thing I could remember, we was in the country going to school, and real cold one morning and I forgot my gloves. And when I got to school my whole hand was numb and the teacher—I didn't have any lesson that day, that's when we was working, Mae and I. And she took my fingers and rubbed 'em and rubbed 'em. And I said they was frostbitten, and they grew like that. That's what I told her. 'Cause I can't remember them being like that when I was born. She took 'em and said, "Do they bother you?" I said no, they don't bother me at all. She said, "I just wanted to know whether you were born like that." I said I don't remember being born—I could have been. So she was sitting there and told me, "I'm writing you out a chart here. Now you don't need anything much, whatever you need you can get [unknown]

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I don't think you need nothing. You are physically fit for a woman of your age to bear this child. Without any complications whatever. If you stay on your strict diet." She said, "Now aren't you happy. Come back here and sit down." I was going out the door. She made me sit back there facing her. She said, "Aren't you happy?" I didn't say a word. She said, "I'm talking to you. Aren't you happy?" I still wouldn't say nothing. She said, "One thing about it, I want you to be happy, as happy as you can. There's some reason why you don't want to have this child, I don't know what it is. But I want you to be happy. Do you work?" I said yeah. She said, "Don't stop work. I want you to be as active as you can." I said I do seasonal work. She said, "It's not going to hurt you. Because I know you ain't going to do no walking. As long as you can work and stir around. Explain to me what you do." I told her. She said, "No it won't hurt you. 'Cause you ain't going to walk. If you was a housewife I would put you on a rigid, strict, walking. But you're not no housewife, you work. Now I don't want you to lay around and mope around. I want you to be as active as you can." I said yes I will. She said, "What does your husband think about it?" I said he don't know it, I haven't told him. She said, "Are you going to tell him?" I said of course, you know I got to tell him. She said, "I reckon he'll be tickled to death." I said maybe. That's all I said, I said maybe he will. She said, "But I know one thing, you're not happy. I don't like that. Why are you not happy?" I told her I have my reasons. She said, "Well forget your reasons and let this child be a normal child." So I went on home. Victoria Lawson was living next door to us. She was the first one I told. She said, "Well I could have told you that." When I worked with the girl she told me, I called Betsy a

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liar on the bus. I'd go to sleep and every time it was time to get off the bus she'd have to wake me up. And Betsy, "You'd better go ahead and see about yourself. You're the biggest asa." I said, you damn liar, and got off the bus, telling her that. Betsy said, "Annie I knew you was pregnant. I knew it. I've had seven children." I said no. And honey, me and Betsy fell out the next morning when I went there. "Annie, what did that doctor say?" I went to laughing. She said, "Yeah, he said you was pregnant." I said yes I am. She said, "I know. I could've told you." But I didn't want to believe it. It was hard for me to believe that thing, I just didn't want to believe it. So after she confirmed and said it was so, I went on with it. But honey, Beverly, that was so hard for me to believe. It was just unbelievable. And I felt wonderful. The only thing I had was the heartburn.
I felt so good 'till I go around there and be doing things and I went to lift a tub. And everybody says, "Miss Annie, don't you do that." I forgot about how I was pregnant, until the baby went to kicking. You know I forgot all about it. I felt so good, and eat. But I was scared—no, I won't tell a lie, I didn't stay on that diet. This same Dr. Richard Percy, I went to him, 'cause it was my time to go. I'd been to Dr. Easley. He said, "Didn't Dr. Easley give you a diet?" I said yes she did. He said, "What's the matter with you?" I said what you mean? He said, "You're not keeping it." I said how do you know. He said, "Your intake of salt is too much. You're not supposed to have any. Your intake of salt is too much." And he said, "The diet you're eating is not for you." I said well she put me on a quart of buttermilk every day. He said, "Yeah, you're getting the milk. But the other things you're doing. She said no coke?" I said, yes she did, no coke. "She

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said no salt." I said yes she did. "She say no sugar." I said yes she did. "She said don't season your food with nothing but just a little dab of margarine." I said yes she did. "Allright. It's your life. If you go into that delivery room and are fixing to have that baby and you have convulsions, we can't save you nor the baby. Now you take your choice." The man scared me so bad. I went back up to the factory honey, Betsy there's something wrong, I told her what he said. And I go by the bakery every day. Getting those cinnamon buns. So the lady said to me, she said, "I ain't got nothing to do with it Ms. Barbee, but you're not supposed to have this." I said I know you're not. She said, "But it's my job to sell it to you. My daughter in law was like you. She was pregnant, had her child later in life. And she wouldn't obey the doctor. She went to the delivery room to have her baby and she had convulsions. The baby died, they had to save her. Now you take your choice, the lady in the bakery. My job is to sell these buns to you. But if I was you I wouldn't buy them." That scared me to death. I got the buns and I gave 'em away. I couldn't eat 'em. Honey I was going to town. So I had a pretty good delivery. I got along fine afterwards.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, now let's go back to the factory. The way you said it was, you had large tables and you would stand from seven to four.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, when I was carrying Louise though, you stand up to a machine and put tobacco on it, you know. Just stand up to a machine and—'56, yeah. Fifty-six they hadn't made a seasonal planting had they?
BEVERLY JONES:
I don't think so, I think you said sixties.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
That's right, they hadn't made the seasonal planting 'till the sixties I don't think. Maybe they had but I was working in another department. Just stand up from seven 'till four, yeah.

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BEVERLY JONES:
So that was pretty rough work for awhile.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you know of any women that had miscarriages because of …
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I don't know where they came from but some of 'em had miscarriages, I don't know where they came from. I worked with a girl named Lottie, her children are grown, she got some grandchildren. Her feet and legs were swelled and the foreman gave her something. She couldn't sit but the job that she did was very easy for her. Her legs and feet swelled out like that.
BEVERLY JONES:
While she was pregnant?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. And one thing they had—they would try to look out for pregnant women because they didn't give you no limit time to quit. I think you quit on your own. That was up to you when you wanted to go home to stay. You could if you wanted to. But I don't think, you know, it wasn't compulsory that you quit at a certain time. And plenty of 'em worked up there 'till the last minute, plenty of 'em, plenty of 'em. Used to work up there to the last, very last minute.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did many of these women have to work?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I'm thinking, I don't know, I'm thinking that they did. I don't know. I have a idea that they had no choice. That's in my opinion, I could be wrong. They had no choice. And some women worked I reckon, because they'd been up there so long so the habit of working. But I know I'm of the opinion they had to.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now did many of them have large families?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Not all of 'em.
BEVERLY JONES:
Do you recall?

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ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
There's some of 'em was just starting out on their families, their families wasn't very large. Just starting out on their families. Some of 'em was kind of young, you know, starting out.
BEVERLY JONES:
So this was basically the type of work that black women could easily get.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yes, and I think it was paying more than anything else. For economic reasons—the pay was better, yeah. In the end it was rather.
BEVERLY JONES:
What are your dislikes about working, as a woman, in a factory at Liggett and Myers in the latter twenties. What are your likes about it, or are there any advantages or disadvantages, in the latter twenties when you began to work.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
In the latter twenties when I began to work up there—when a young woman begins to work in a place like that, I don't know whether they were paying more or less at that time than domestic work. But a young woman going in a place like that to work, you never get anywhere in your goals, you just get up there and work and then it becomes habit forming. You just work, work. A lot of 'em did though—I've known quite a few women quit working up there. Some of 'em went to taking up something else, some of 'em became beauticians, what have you. But it was a few, the ones that didn't outnumbered the few. So, I wouldn't advise no young woman to go in a place like that, and stay, no. No young woman, especially a young woman. It's allright to go there and get some money for awhile but once you get there and get stuck, you don't try to go nowhere, you just stay there. Not only Liggett and Myers, any place like that. In other words, what I'm trying to say, I wouldn't advise no young woman to go in a place like that with no hopes of

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advancement to something better, you see. You worked there for awhile but you see, you leave there. Get some money and leave there and go to something better. And you can do it if you want to. Now during the seasonal work they hire some college boys, go up there and handle those sheets of tobacco—just for the season. Tell me, Reverend C. Fischers sons used to go up there. All them boys in the hay time, go up there and handle. But it's for a season. Go there and make that good money, buy all their clothes. They're not there to stay, they wouldn't stay there. And I couldn't fault 'em. There's no advantage there.
BEVERLY JONES:
Now would you say in the latter twenties that the working conditions were worse.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
When I worked up there, the twenties. Yeah it was worse. In other words, what I would say, when they made it better everybody was about gone, you know. When they made it better—more benefits, you could get shares of anything, your daddy got shares in the company. The mass of people didn't get that.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about deaths among black women. Let's see, you worked from '29 to '65. Within that time span do you know of any black women who worked in tobacco at Liggett and Myers that died—I'm quite sure they died.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
I know what you mean.
BEVERLY JONES:
But what about the age, maybe, at which they died, or maybe the cause of their death or anything like that?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
No, 'cause most of the women I knowed—just a few blacks died but I don't know the cause of their death. That's a funny thing, I'm glad you brought that up. It's a funny thing that the most women that I know—of course they might have been old when I got acquainted

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with 'em, I don't know how long—most women and men that I know worked up there lived to be a old age. They could've been old when they went there. Now we can't define that's that. 'Cause they could have been up in age when I got there. But most of 'em lived to be agible. They do, like poppa and your daddy and your momma. You know she was kind of up in age, like me, she worked up there. There Ms. Dan, she worked, she's still living. Mrs. Courney, Ms. Jones and all. So I don't know, I don't know what happened. But they didn't work under the best conditions is what I mean by inhaling all that dust and mess.
BEVERLY JONES:
Okay, anything else you want to add in reference to your experieces at the factory.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Well, one thing I can say is this. A mass—of course it could be better now—a mass of black women working for a large company like that, no. If the conditions is allright in the beginning, maybe it's better. But you see, in the early twenties when I went there, maybe they weren't paying much nowhere. But I'm saying about what you have to do. You're over here doing all the nasty dirty work. And over there on the cigarette side—I don't know what they get—the white women over there wear white uniforms. See what I'm talking about. Wearing white uniforms and white dresses. And you're over here handling all that old sweaty tobacco though, you see. There's a large difference. We both going to smoke the cigarettes, oh yeah. I don't smoke but some women do smoke. Now if you got a group of people and both of 'em are making your product, why not make working conditions equal, why not do that. I've thought about it. Don't you think I have, but I have. Why not make it equally. If you don't want to work 'em in the same place, make the working conditions better where they are, whatever they're doing.

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Okay, here come the machine. I'll tell you another incident. The very day we quit working up there, here come the machines. We worked on a Friday, I'll never forget, on the part I was working in. And it was our last day up there. Here come the machines and the white man was up there putting up signs for the bathrooms—White Only. Putting up signs. That's up there at Liggett and Myers. So the white women went up there, and they didn't need to put no signs. No, I'm sorry—he was putting up signs for the white women and so some of the women said they was going in the bathroom. He said, "You can't go in that bathroom there." Putting up signs. I guess the white women went over there, or something. They had had to do in the part that we were coming out of. So we—I don't get anything from Liggett and Myers. I haven't even been up there to see about it. Some of those employees are getting a little small check, I imagine. But you know your daddy was still working up there, so he got his shares and everything else. But the mass of black women didn't get a whole lot of nothing from them. Of course you get your social security, that's yours. But I'm talking about direct from the company.
BEVERLY JONES:
Yeah the benefits.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Direct from the company only, see, direct from the company. I don't get nothing from 'em.
BEVERLY JONES:
Let me ask you, with black women working together did you all have a type of feeling of responsibility for each other. You know, if one got sick or if the family was in need?
END OF INTERVIEW